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Fran
04-30-2009, 10:35 AM
http://www.bakersfield.com/news/sports/jam/x443328471/D-LEAVE

After losses of around $1 million for each of the last two years, Bakersfield Jam owner Stan Ellis announced Wednesday the NBA Development League team has ceased operations.

"It's not a reflection on the economy," Ellis said inside the team's practice facility on Norris Road. "Our businesses are doing very well.

"It's simply this: Other business opportunities have arisen with much more potential. And the losses we incur with the Jam are not fair to the other 300 people we employ for expansion in those businesses."

The Jam is coming off its first winning season, having qualified for the D-League playoffs for the first time.

Ellis, who owns just under 94 percent of the team, said sponsorships were up 400 percent this past season compared to the previous year. But attendance lagged.

Minority owner David Higdon said the average attendance this season was 2,100 per game, about the same as the previous season. But the actual head count at games was often well below that figure.

Ellis said the goal when the team formed was average attendance between 3,000 and 3,500 per game.

"At the end of the day, we have to put a product on the floor that draws clientele," Ellis said. "That did not happen."

Scott Roth, who joined the Jam as head coach during the 2007-8 season, said he wasn't surprised with Ellis' decision.

"I don't think the fans ever caught on to the Jam," Roth said. "When you get 6,000 to 7,000 per game for the Condors and you're not getting 1,500 to a Jam game, it's a problem."

Ellis said he made the decision to cease operations Tuesday after waking up at 5 a.m.

"Of course it didn't happen at once," Ellis said. "David (Higdon) and I have had many conversations. The thing is: the opportunities we have in business today are scary phenomenal. They're great.

"And then we look at the Jam and it's frustrating because you spend $1,000 to get $100 through the door. ... Well, we can only stand that so long and it's not good business sense."

Ellis added: "When you have business deals that start to go south, you cut your losses and you go on to the next one. It's simply that. This is a business decision."

Higdon said: "No one has told us we made a bad business decision."

Ellis said several factors led to the timing of the announcement.

A major consideration was the Jam's contract with the city of Bakersfield to use Rabobank Arena for home games. Ellis said the contract states that the Jam must inform the city by May 1 whether it plans on continuing to play.

"And we have obligations to our people and we have obligations to the community," Ellis said.

The Jam is the second minor league team from Bakersfield to fold in less than two years. In the late summer of 2007, the Arena Football League2 Blitz disbanded.

Also in danger is the minor league baseball Bakersfield Blaze. Major League Baseball officials have said this could be the California League team's final season in Bakersfield because Sam Lynn Ball Park fails to meet minimum facility requirements.

Ellis said he recently acquired two alternative energy businesses from the San Diego area that deal with wind, water and solar energy.

"We decided that's where our efforts should go," he said.

Also involved in the Jam's demise is minority owner Steve Chase, who has been involved with the team from the start.

"It's a very sad day for me," Chase said. "I believed three years ago and still believe today that Bakersfield is a great market for this product."

He added: "When you look at it, Stan and Dave wanted to give something back to the community. Now that you look at it, did the community want the team or not? Certainly the crowds weren't there."

Said Roth: "I thought it was a great market. It was one of those situations that, potentially, had a lot of things going for it. It just wasn't working."

skippy
04-30-2009, 10:50 AM
So, who goes down next?

There will be more.

baller5000
04-30-2009, 12:46 PM
Expect Colorado to cease operations soon

Minor League Man
04-30-2009, 01:26 PM
Expect Colorado to cease operations soon

You still expect the defending champions to just shut down??? Ya know, 4/20's been over for a week...

baller5000
04-30-2009, 03:13 PM
Unless there is a buyer for the team, or the League can move them somewhere, yes, Colorado will be done. The owner tried to get out last summer but the League wouldn't let him. They didn't sell many tickets this year. The owner also manages the building and has been let out of that contract by the city of Broomfield. A new building manager will not be in place until July. The coaching staff are all out looking for jobs for next year. It will be a miracle if the 14ers stay

Minor League Man
04-30-2009, 04:21 PM
Unless there is a buyer for the team, or the League can move them somewhere, yes, Colorado will be done. The owner tried to get out last summer but the League wouldn't let him. They didn't sell many tickets this year. The owner also manages the building and has been let out of that contract by the city of Broomfield. A new building manager will not be in place until July. The coaching staff are all out looking for jobs for next year. It will be a miracle if the 14ers stay
It would be a TERRIBLE look for the league if the 14ers just shut down after winning the title...

My guess is that the Nuggets are going to try buying them soon and possibly move them to the BUDWEISER EVENTS CENTER (already home of two successful franchises)

baller5000
04-30-2009, 05:41 PM
It would be a TERRIBLE look for the league if the 14ers just shut down after winning the title...

My guess is that the Nuggets are going to try buying them soon and possibly move them to the BUDWEISER EVENTS CENTER (already home of two successful franchises)

I hope you know something I don't.

skippy
04-30-2009, 05:48 PM
Is there any homegrown (non-CBA cherry-picked) franchise that is doing legitimately well?

I'm at a loss for finding any. Anyone? Bueller?

Minor League Man
04-30-2009, 06:16 PM
Is there any homegrown (non-CBA cherry-picked) franchise that is doing legitimately well?

I'm at a loss for finding any. Anyone? Bueller?
Do Iowa, Fort Wayne, and Erie count?

SignGuyDino
05-05-2009, 02:03 PM
Colorado folding or moving wouldn't be a shock.

Asheville were two-time champs when the team was moved to Tulsa.

Still wouldn't look good.

I think they need to shorten the season and get the season over in time for players to be called up to the parent clubs for the playoff push. My .02....

toad455
05-28-2009, 11:23 PM
If Bakersfield is indeed done, then why are they selling 2009-10 season tickets?? New ownership??

bectond
07-01-2009, 07:39 AM
If Bakersfield is indeed done, then why are they selling 2009-10 season tickets?? New ownership??

Once the smoke cleared the D-league only had a couple relocations. Nobody folded, the Jam did move to their practice gym.